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Faust Visits Chicago for 'Your Harvard' Alumni Event

University President Drew G. Faust discussed her role in several hot-button campus issues in her final sit-down interview of 2014 with The Crimson.
University President Drew G. Faust discussed her role in several hot-button campus issues in her final sit-down interview of 2014 with The Crimson.
By Theodore R. Delwiche, Crimson Staff Writer

In her latest travel stop as part of the “Your Harvard” event series for Harvard's ongoing capital campaign, University President Drew G. Faust visited Chicago last week to promote the University’s research initiatives and host discussions with Harvard affiliates.

In a speech to event attendees, Faust discussed the historical connection between Chicago and Harvard, noting that the city has the longest continuously operating alumni club, founded in 1857.

Faust, for her part, lauded the Harvard Club of Chicago’s recent work to help raise money to restore Johnston Gate, as well as an $150 million gift last year from Kenneth C. Griffin ’89. $125 million of his gift went to financial aid, and the financial aid office and its executive directorship were renamed in his honor.

University President Drew G. Faust, pictured in 2014.
University President Drew G. Faust, pictured in 2014. By Robert F Worley

“Johnston Gate—the structure that perhaps most symbolizes entry to our community—was made possible by a very generous gift from a Chicagoan,” Faust said, according to a press release. “And last year, thanks to an extraordinary gift from another Chicagoan, [Griffin,] we are able to open those gates, literally and figuratively, to more students—some 800 undergraduates each year—regardless of their financial circumstances."

Chicago is just one of many stops that Faust has made as she has canvassed for the capital campaign. In March, she visited Beijing for another “Your Harvard” event and to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss climate change. Last year, she visited Dallas, Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, and London.

In 2013, Harvard launched its most ambitious fundraising campaign with a goal of $6.5 billion—a figure that, if reached, would set the record for the largest single capital campaign in higher education, beating out Stanford’s previous 2011 record of $6.2 billion. In February, the total number of gifts and pledges to Harvard reached $5 billion.

At the event, Harvard Corporation Treasurer Paul J. Finnegan ’75 also moderated a discussion centered on economic mobility with Economics professor Raj Chetty ’00 and Graduate School of Education professor Bridget T. Long.

Chetty said economic mobility depends particularly on where people grow up, according to the press release, pointing to low levels of income inequality and violent crime as well as high levels of two-parent households and good public schools as factors that facilitate upward mobility.

Long said that when financial aid forms, such as the widely used Free Application for Federal Student Aid, are simplified and shortened, they can help increase college enrollment in low-income families.

—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at theodore.delwiche@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @trdelwic.

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Central AdministrationCollege FinanceResearchFundraisingUniversity FinancesDrew FaustFinancial AidUniversityCapital CampaignUniversity News